Pokhara Re-union

Last weekend two of my best friends came to visit me in Pokhara and we had an amazing couple of days of chilling, talking, walking, admiring the Himalayan views and eating good food.

It was great to show my friends around Nepal, which is my ‘home’ for now. They loved the mountains and the lake in Pokhara, were happy to listen to me banging on about Nepali politics and were amazed by dal bhat (Nicola: ‘you can get *actual* refills of spinach. I love it!’)

The three of us have been living and working in Asia since last year – Nicola in the offices of a ‘magic circle’ law firm in Shanghai, Kris for a bank in Bangalore, and myself for an INGO in Nepal. On the surface, the three of us could not be more different or have more different lives. One thing that we used to say about our friendship group from undergrad days was that we don’t really have much in common apart from the fact we all like each other so much. I have to say that these two ladies completely confound any stereotypes about arrogant bankers and lawyers.  It was really great to spend hours hanging out at my favourite Pokhara hangouts (like Samay) talking to my sahelis about their lives over the past six months. Nicola summed up our collective experiences of being foreigners living in Asia thus: ‘I’ve learned you can really do some strange things with rice’. (I think this was reference to South Indian idli, which are springy, UFO-shaped cakes of fermented rice which bounce like a tennis ball if thrown)

Nicola is an amazing singer and seemed to have acquired celebrity status among the Chinese girls in her office because of her karaoke skills. Kris is in the position where she can live a privileged expat life, hermetically sealed from anything remotely Indian. But she is one of the (sadly) rare foreigners working with multinationals who go out of their way to venture outside the bubble to learn about their host country and its culture.

I don’t think that any of us fully expected to be where we are now. Sometimes life throws surprises at you that we would never have imagined when we were leading our  somewhat cocooned lives at Cambridge. Markets falter, political situations change as rapidly as the weather, relationships end, work sends you to places you didn’t expect to wind up. However, last weekend reminded me that amidst all of this upheaval there are some things that, thankfully, remain constant. Like your friends.

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One Response to “Pokhara Re-union”

  1. Nice post Sophia. It’s oh so important not to forget who your real friends are amongst the adrenalin-fuelled excitement of ex-pat life hai na?

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